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Establishing French SARL / SA

A SARL is a Société à responsabilité limitée, similar to a Dutch BV. The Société Anonyme (SA) is a French legal form, which in turn is mostly comparable to an SA. Both legal forms have a similar method of incorporation. If you are a foreign entrepreneur looking to establish a business in France, there are a number of facets to consider. For example, the French SALR is started by a minimum of 2 natural persons or legal entities, and an initial capital of 1 euro is possible but not recommended. Find out all about establishing a SARL or SA.

Establishing SARL

If you want to form a limited liability company in France, the Société à responsabilité limitée, the minimum initial capital is set at 1 euro, also known as the registered capital. Within French culture, however, such a low amount is not advisable. Because the initial capital of €1 is publicly listed on company documents, it will not inspire confidence among potential partners. This is why start-up entrepreneurs are more likely to choose an initial capital of at least 3,000 euros.

Start-up capital must inspire confidence, especially within French culture

In many ways, the SARL is strikingly similar to a Dutch BV. Shareholders hold an important role within the SARL, and are free to decide on the amount of initial capital. Each shareholder is individually responsible for the amount of their own contribution. There is no mandatory deposit of share capital.

Establish SA

An SA, Société Anonyme, is similar to a Limited Liability Company. This is a larger legal form with at least seven shareholders, who collectively contribute a minimum initial capital of 37,000 euros. Half of that capital must be contributed in advance, and the remainder in the first year after incorporation. There are two variants of the SA: SASU with one shareholder, and SAS with two to seven shareholders.

Establishing SARL / SA - the application

Van Lier provides the complete incorporation and procedure for establishing a SARL or SA. These include the following elements:

  • Tax guidance on incorporation
  • Contacts with lawyer/notary in France
  • Entry in registers in France
  • Application for tax numbers
  • Support in opening a local bank account with a large French international bank
  • Introduction to a local accountant, and if required support with marketing and logistics in France (through partners)
  • Support at a French address

Set-up time is about 2-3 weeks, including the opening of a French bank account. The lawyer/notary need not be visited in person. You will receive all documents through our office. After signing the documents, the SARL can be established, and we will take care of the required registration.

What does van Lier do at incorporation?

We cover all aspects of a SARL/SA incorporation so that you are completely ready to start doing business in France. Not quite at home in the French market yet? We can fully support you and provide expert advice from the plan to the actual formation of the SARL or SA.

Set up your SA with Van Lier Fiscaal Advies BV.

Do you still have questions regarding the incorporation of a limited liability company or would you like us to start working for you right away? If so, please fill out the contact form.


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